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Saturday, 23 August 2014

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Haney makes swift return as Barrow Raiders take on Batley

SAFE-HANDS Lee Haney will return to the Barrow side against Batley tonight after a whirlwind knee surgery recovery.

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The 24-year-old Raiders utility back was injured in the season-opening defeat at Hunslet – limping from the field and fearing the worst.

The initial prognosis was possible ligament damage, which would have sidelined Haney for several months, but a visit to see a consultant at Furness General Hospital has set him on a swift road to recovery.

Haney trained with his team-mates last week and warmed up with the team ahead of Sunday’s match at Featherstone.

He comes into the team for the televised match against the Bulldogs tonight, taking the place of the injured Dean McGilvray – who has also damaged his knee – at full-back (7.30pm ko).

“I went in on the Friday expecting to see a consultant and for him to tell me what he thought I had done and planning for a scan,” said the ex-Furness RUFC player of his injury.

“But he did a few tests on my knee and said my ligaments were fine and it was just when I couldn’t straighten my knee out, it was the cartilage getting caught on the outside.

“He said I needed arthroscopy to get it sorted and at first it might have been a few weeks down the line and he was going to see if another surgeon could do it instead.

“Eventually he said he was going to squeeze me in between a couple of other operations and he got me in and done on the same day.

“I went in at 9.25am for my appointments, I was under the knife by quarter-past four and I was out of hospital again by half-past seven and back home.”

He added: “It wasn’t at all what I had been expecting through the week. When I was talking to the physios and from when I did the knee on the Sunday, I thought I had damaged my ligaments and I thought that could be me for a good few months of the season.”

Haney watched the first home game of the season against Doncaster from the stands, attending on crutches. But he quickly disposed of the walking aid, restarted work and began training, declaring himself fit for Sunday’s match against Rovers, which he also viewed from the sidelines.

Despite a record of three defeats from three games so far, Haney feels what he has seen, both while on the field and off it, bodes well. He added: “We’ve just got to build on what we have done so far. We’re a new team, we’ve only been together through pre-season, but because of the weather, we couldn’t play the last friendly and this is only our second game together.

“Quite a lot of us haven’t played at this level before, but when the weather gets better we will be able to throw the ball about a bit and show what we can do.”

Coach Darren Holt decided not to risk Haney for Featherstone, but has him ready for tonight and said: “He declared himself fit for Featherstone, but I just thought it was a bit too soon.

“He’s certainly fit enough, he trained all week last week, he warmed-up with us on Sunday and he’s fine. He’s the kind of player, with the season we are going to have this year, who you need.”

The former Barrow Island amateur comes in at full-back for McGilvray, who injured his knee against Featherstone. Haney’s place on the wing has been taken by Mike Backhouse but Holt said he was always in contention to be the final line of defence.

“It was always the plan at the start of the season that we had Deano and Lee who were going to vie for full-back and both can slot on the wing as well,” said the Barrow boss. “We’ve got a lot of options there.”

Haney added: “When I was chosen through pre-season to start, I just wanted to keep that position for every game. Then I was bit gutted when I hurt myself and I thought that was my season done!”

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